The pre-campaign already complicates the approval of laws in the government coalition

The Government of Pedro Sánchez intends to accelerate legislative production in the remaining year of the legislature in Congress, which will be dissolved in October 2023, at the latest. Despite the constant tug-of-war in the coalition, no one is counting on a break for now, but the road has been steep for the approval of some legislative projects that have been in Congress for some time. The reason is in the pressure exerted by the parties that support the Government at the gates of a pre-campaign that will lead first to the municipal and regional elections and that will have the general elections as the last stop. The main clash is again in the housing law, which has been the Government's internal stumbling block since the beginning of the mandate, and now that of animal welfare has been added to the demand of the socialist barons to exclude hunting dogs from the specific protection of that rule.

For United We Can, which displays greater ambition in the final stretch of the mandate to make its presence in the Government profitable, and the left-wing partners, the housing law is fundamental. It has been for the last two years and its development has always been used as a bargaining chip in important negotiations such as Budgets. After more than a year entrenched, and in full escalation of rental and purchase prices, the details were finalized in a meeting in which Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz participated together with the ministers Félix Bolaños, María Jesús Montero and Ione Belarra at doors to present the public accounts for this year. However, the parliamentary process has revealed discrepancies.

The confederal group has presented dozens of amendments to the agreed text, but considers three fundamental proposals to give the green light to the law in Congress: the limitation of rental prices in stressed areas without differentiating between large and small holders, which was one of the discrepancies already sorted out; the prohibition of evictions in Spain of vulnerable families without there being an alternative home where they can stay, and that all the homes of the SAREB (known as the bad bank) be included in the public housing stock for rent. The formation led by Ione Belarra maintains that the norm could already be approved if the PSOE accepted these proposals, which they also consider would facilitate the support of the rest of the left-wing allies.

However, the socialist wing rules out accepting the changes proposed by the coalition's minority partner and shows some anger at the attempt to include them when there were already an agreed text. “It's up to them [señalan fuentes socialistas sobre la aprobación de la ley de vivienda]. We comply with the agreement that we took to the Council of Ministers. We do not go back on what we agreed to." there was also an agreement with ERC to save the processing of the standardso they consider that the homework is done.

It is not the first time that the groups that support the coalition present amendments to the laws that come out of the Government. Furthermore, it is common practice. Nor is it the first time that a proposal for change has generated an earthquake in the coalition: one of the most controversial was the PSOE's attempt to include a legal change to abolish prostitution in the law of "only yes is yes". United We Can and the rest of the allies opposed it and the withdrawal was necessary –since the amendment would have gone ahead with the PP– so that the star law of Irene Montero's department was approved.

It is also an amendment that has tightened the rope and has a special electoral aspect for the socialists in territories such as Aragón, Castilla-La Mancha or Extremadura. Its about PSOE attempt to exclude hunting dogs of the umbrella of animal welfare law.

The rule promoted by the Ministry of Social Rights raised alerts in some socialist federations to the point that Emiliano García-Page claimed the ruse of having managed to get the Socialist Group to include that amendment to a text that had the approval of the Council of Ministers. The president of Aragon, Javier Lambán, also celebrated it, aware of the electoral strength of that sector in his community. "Sheepdogs and hunting dogs will be excluded from the law, which is excellent news that shows sensitivity for the rural environment and its activities," the Aragonese president told journalists, who assured that he raised his "discrepancy" with the ministers involved. ” before the Government approved the law, but that the change that was introduced did not “satisfy” them.

The PSOE has been trying to recover the pulse in the rural world for some time, where they feared a major implementation of Vox. The argument for excluding hunting dogs from the animal welfare law is that it be limited to pets in line with European legislation.

In this case, the partners exchange roles and it is United We Can who refuses to modify what it maintains was a consensus within the Government. “The amendment that they have proposed seems extremely serious to us. We are sure that although the PSOE receives pressure, it is not in favor of burying puppies in quicklime or hanging a greyhound. Whatever they do, it's animal abuse," co-spokesperson María Teresa Pérez harshly criticized.

The parliamentary horizon of this law is, today, in the air. Socialist parliamentary sources assume that the amendment to differentiate the right of animals to be protected depending on whether or not they are pets will have to go ahead with the support of the PP, contrary to the whole of the law from the outset. What happens is that, beyond United We Can, the majority of parliamentary partners are openly opposed to subsequently supporting in Congress a text that contemplates that PSOE amendment and that, therefore, substantially modifies what was approved by the Council of Ministers.

In the socialist leadership they try to differentiate that law from the housing law, which they remember is of vital importance to the coalition. "It is not the same that during two budget years you negotiate a law and its fine print than that you present amendments to an issue that has not been the subject of negotiation," they argue.

With these wickers, both laws are bogged down for now, as is the gag law, which does not yet have the approval of the ERC, which wants to ban the use of rubber balls (as is already the case in Catalonia) and wants progress in the presumption of veracity of the agents whose only testimony has served to impose sentences with the norm of the PP. Negotiation sources assure that at the turn of the summer there have already been several contacts between the main groups, some of them this week, and that progress has been made in the search for an agreement. However, these same sources point out that everything is still hanging by a thread and that the house of cards of the negotiation often collapses due to news related to the Ministry of the Interior of Fernando Grande-Marlaska. This same week it was known that his department had just acquired 60,000 rubber balls just when the parliamentary groups were trying to reach an agreement for their eradication.

In the coalition, they also take for granted friction in the negotiation of the Budgets, which will be the last public accounts of the mandate and are the last opportunity to promote key measures of the programmatic agreement that have been postponed. At the gates of the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, taking the project to Congress –at the end of September or the beginning of October according to her calculations–, United We Can has begun to mark ground by proposing the need to put a cap on the variable mortgages. A measure that the PSOE has ruled out.

In Moncloa they take it for granted that there will be an agreement and that the project will be approved in the Cortes, despite Pedro Sánchez's intention to include an increase in defense spending that all his allies reject. Once again, the PSOE believes that the PP can save this chapter, although it trusts that the usual allies will do so when they are asked so that the entire project does not fall. "This increase will not compromise other social items," say socialist sources, while United We Can makes it clear that military spending was a "red line" that will have to be highly compensated with social measures if the PSOE intends to close an agreement.

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